GRAPH EXPO & CONVERTING EXPO 2002 -- Showing Signs of Recovery
format ink-jet printing, which IT Strategies predicts may become an $11 billion industry by 2005. The consulting firm found that commercial print shops are only getting about 15 percent of this business and, as a result, are in danger of allowing the market to slip away to other channels. In response, new on the show floor this year will be a Wide-format Opportunities Pavilion. Vendors will include ENCAD, Epson America, Hewlett-Packard, MacDermid Printing Solutions (ColorSpan) and Océ, among others.
Experts Predict Trends
Aside from the economic and revenue generation issues, the annual exhibition also showcases technological developments.
According to Bill Lamparter, president of the PrintCom Consulting Group, the major technology theme will likely be process integration, i.e., the computer-integrated manufacturing or digital network production approach with many more suppliers touting their support for CIP4. "On the show floor, this trend may not be so instantly obvious but, if one examines the supplier offerings closely, it will be the underlying technology theme," he predicts.
Lamparter also believes that "computer-direct output to something" will be a prime area of emphasis at Graph Expo, with the battle between which way to go continuing. Violet computer-to-plate production will get a strong push, as well, and the show will be a good place to evaluate the status of processless plates.
The emphasis is going to be on both analog and digital process improvements rather than on any bombshell new technologies, Lamparter continues. "However, if one looks carefully, the beginnings of the next prepress (R)evolution will be visible."
He adds that adopting a 100 percent digital workflow—from the receipt of material to be printed (presumably an electronic file), to outputting film, plates or going direct-to-press—is a must do 'em. "Whether one goes direct-to-film, -plate or -press depends upon a large number of a printer's individualistic issues and circumstances," Lamparter concludes. "One answer does not fit all."